Chicken, Egg Conundrum of Society, Gov’t

Is it an inward-looking and inflexible society that is giving way to bad leadership, or is it the other way around? Leaders, of course, have come and gone, while society gradually changed, to a certain extent, through the decades. Either way, it is only worthwhile to try a bottom-up approach, see if leaders are mere products of a society and if a finer version of the latter can result in a fitter government.

As part of society, or just a curious person, I sometimes wonder about our societal values and leadership imperfections. We keep believing something is going to come up and this time it will be different even when we do not change what led to what went wrong in the past and present.

Societal illustration of this prejudice includes officials unable to relieve themselves of office or politicians who ride a losing bet just because they cannot stand loss. The fundamental relationship between the people and leaders has become emotional and personal. Division has outshined unity, unravelling what binds us together.

I am sure that there is a vast potential in each of us to do anything we want, whether good or bad. Thus, we need to consider our choices and what effect they may have down the line as leaders, professionals or an individual who is a part of society.

Dusting the misconceptions now, before reaching the point of no return, is the better option. These days, we are forced to think that we need to make sure that we all want the same things in life and in politics to act and to be good as a unit.

Embracing differences and working for a common goal is ignored and constructive criticisms are rarely recognised. But having a different opinion, referring constructive criticisms can be a building block to everyone concerned in bringing change.

As a lawyer and an individual who advocates for universal human rights and benefits to everyone, it makes me sad when I see laws being disregarded and countries’ values invaded. We cannot plant a banana tree and expect to harvest oranges. In the same token, we cannot sow division and expect to reap unity. That is just practically impossible.

This affects us in our day to day routines. We respect the traffic law because a traffic police is standing around the corner eager to write a ticket. We pay for train ticket expecting someone will be checking. But few people do the right thing because it is a discipline passed on to them by family or society.

Unlike these few, most in our society are convinced that things are done for superiors. The professional workers spend essential work hours browsing social media or watch movies just because the boss is not around. Some do not even show up at work because the human resource is not available to make sure everyone is on duty.

Some go to school because parents demand it and waste school time abusing recreational drugs. Others go to the private sector just to earn more salary, and public servants misappropriate resources because no one holds them accountable. The list is infinite as is the magnitude of the problems in all ladders of life.

A defective source only breeds imperfection. After all our leaders come from the society. They are from a society which taught them stealing is fine as long as one does not get caught red-handed. A famous saying for it is “Sishome Yelebela Sishare Yekochewal”, roughly translated to, “those that do not amass a fortune in office will regret it when demoted”.

They are from a society where talking about problems and solving them is a weakness. They are from a culture which taught them when someone tries to get in their way it is best to run them over. A society who taught them to clean a house and dump the dirt at a neighbour’s doorstep

Leaders are mere reflections of an overall society, encapsulating both its imperfections and strengths. It is not a mystery that societies rarely single out defects and core contributions to the state, impacting an entire country.

Does this mean we should take every problem as our making and accept everything?

Not necessarily. Especially in challenging and uncertain times, setting clear intentions and developing and refining the society’s beneficial values can make things much easier for everyone to smoothly navigate and overcome problems.

I believe that we are in a path of rectifying imperfection and scrutinising societal values to improve it. It is relevant to ponder to polish our societal values and create country level impacts, not only to help ourselves but also inspire the globe that gives us attention for all the wrong reasons.

It is time for the society to have a legitimate answer when it is confronted with major challenges, on what core principles to base decisions and actions. Attitudes such as this help a society move forward against many challenges. Most importantly, it moulds genuineness and unity, destroying division.

A disciplined society ultimately creates genuine leaders, bringing better leadership that can be felt by the entire country. When a society is disciplined, somehow leaders will comply. Isolation and bitterness are not solutions. We need to think carefully as individuals and support each other as a community to effectively function as a society and overcome provocations.

It will help us transform from mere existence to actual living. Existing is simply living in fear while living is defeating challenges our circumstances have to offer. The search for universal democracy and human rights is an evolving process. Nothing needs to be set to violence; peaceful fights are the art of civilisation.

Acknowledging and accepting constructive criticism as society and government will provide an improved outlook. Significant changes may not immediately follow but it is great to start it for once damage is done, it might take a while to repair.

By Eden Sahle

Published on Jan 21,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 926]



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